TECH TALK: More on that which is free and safe from the Web

Donovan Hoggan
By Donovan Hoggan
June 2nd, 2010

When it comes to free software, I think Google is the King. Most people
know about the Google search engine, but there’s so much more.

Gmail is a full-featured email client that will connect to your existing
account, or let you use your Gmail address with Microsoft Outlook or
Mozilla Thunderbird. It offers seven GB of storage, themes, and a hundred
other customization options.

Google Docs gives you a complete office suite online. It will do word
processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings, and will store your
files so that they can be accessed by any internet-connected computer.

The Calendar has all of the features of any other, plus it offers the
ability to share with someone else’s calendar. I use it so that my wife &
I can keep track of soccer games, dentist appointments, etc. and keep them
all in one place. It’s also great for businesses to track each other when
needed. And, because Google always has security in mind, you have a lot
of control over what you want to share and what you don’t.

Speaking of security, Google has a team whose sole job is keeping their
system locked down. Among other things, they store multiple copies of
your information, but they store each copy spread out among several server
farms. That way you don’t have to worry about a data centre fire wiping
out our files. And, at the same time, any bad guy who gets access to one
server will only be able to steal worthless gibberish.

Finally, the Google search engine that serves us all so well for finding
websites can also be used to find emails, calendar entries or documents
from within your account. Very handy when you get too many entries to
find things just by scanning through the list.

I quoted a company recently on a solution for tracking files, sharing
calendars and providing emails for 12 people across a fairly large region.
The conventional solution was over $7000 and would only do some of what
they wanted. Google would do everything they wanted for free. Tough to
argue with that math.

Try it out for yourself or your business and let me know how it goes.


Categories: Op/Ed


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